Disclaimer: I own nothing
"Don't you look beautiful tonight." Logan said as Rory entered the living room of their apartment.
"Thank you. You clean up pretty good too." She said as he kissed her. He let her go and kept fiddling with his tie. "You're nervous." She said as she grabbed it and began helping him fix it.
"Well, a night with my parents will do that."
"It will be fine. There will be so many other people there to worry about, they won't even think about you." She patted his shoulder as she finished. "There."
"Considering it's our engagement party, I'm not sure how I feel about that statement. Thank you." He said as he admired her work in the mirror.
"Come on, the earlier we get there, the earlier we can leave." He pouted as she pulled him towards the door. "And if you're a good boy and you behave yourself, we'll get you a treat on the way home."
When Tristan walked into the room, he was immediately reminded of why he left all those years ago. Formal affairs were not his strong suit. Sure he could still schmooze and charm anybody in the room, but he always hated being reminded of where he came from. He was only here for one reason and that was Logan. He knew that his old friend would need him desperately tonight. He had been reading in the papers about Logan's failed business attempts and his new offer in California, but facing all those people again made Tristan's stomach turn. Most of them knew nothing of his life in North Carolina. There was another reason he was nervous. He had received the invitation out of the blue, shocked to find that Logan was settling down, but even more shocked at who had done the settling. Rory Gilmore was marrying his former best friend. He bought the plane ticket home immediately, if only to find out more details. Grabbing a scotch from the bar, he began looking around the room to find Logan. They hadn't really talked in a few years, but that couldn't be helped. In high school, they had been practically inseparable at these types of things, finding sub-parties and always creating a good time together, well what used to be considered a good time.
"DuGray?" He turned to face the reason for the occasion.
"Huntzberger." He set down his drink and prepared himself for a hug.
"I didn't expect to see you here tonight!"
"Well, you know me, I never miss the opportunity for a free bar. How are you doing Logan?"
"I'm doing well for someone who's about to get hitched. I want you to meet my girl, hold on." He looked behind him.
"Hey Ace. Come here, I want you to meet somebody." She excused herself quietly and walked over. Tristan reminded himself to breathe as she came closer. She was everything he had remembered her to be and more. "Ace this is my friend…"
"Tristan" She smiled as she interrupted him. "What are you doing here?!"
"Hey Mary, miss me?"
"You have no idea." She said as she gave him a hug.
"You two know each other?" Logan asked.
"Chilton." They said at the same time as they let go of one another.
"Oh right, I forgot you went to Chilton for awhile." He said as he patted Tristan on the back. "Hold on, I'll be right back, I see some people I need to talk to."
"Imagine my surprise when the invitation for tonight arrived in my mailbox." Rory smiled. "God, it's been ages since I've seen you. How are you?"
"I'm wonderful. I just graduated from Yale, I'm getting married." She felt stupid, of course she was getting married, that's why she was here. Why was she so flustered? Was it so hard to talk to him? "What about you?" She needed to change the subject and fast.
"Military school, UNC, I started my own business online, which is thankfully doing pretty well." He took a drink and remembered something else. "Mm, I have a daughter now." He added as if he forgot that Rory didn't already know that. Rory's shocked expression made Tristan laugh.
"You have a daughter." The disbelief was evident. "How old is she?"
"I don't know if I believe you." Tristan smiled as he pulled out his wallet. He handed it to her. "Her name is Regan."
"Oh my God, you have a daughter."
"So I've been told." He said with a chuckle.
"She's adorable." She had the same blonde hair and blue eyes as Tristan, but round chubby rosy cheeks. "You have a daughter…I cannot wrap my mind around that."
"Well I couldn't believe it either at first, but it's been really… life-changing." She paused as she handed him back his wallet, listening to the extra something behind his voice. She instinctively glanced at his hand, no ring.
"And are you happy?"
"Yeah, I guess I am." For some reason, Rory didn't believe him.
"Good. I'm glad. And maybe sometime I can meet this daughter of yours." Logan dropped by again and wrapped his arms around Rory's waist.
"Thanks for keeping my girl occupied for me."
"No problem." He said as the couple began to walk away.
"Don't go anywhere, I want to catch up with you later." She said before getting out of earshot. Tristan nodded as Logan pulled her on the dance floor.
"Tristan has a daughter, did you know that?"
"Yes I did." He said with a smile. "I cannot believe you knew Tristan in high school. How weird is that?"
"I can't believe Tristan knew you in high school." She smiled at him. "Although it does explain a lot about the two of you."
"Hmm, you think?" He gave her a twirl. She nodded. "Sad story though, about Tristan."
"What about him?" She asked. Logan paused.
"His girlfriend, she died about two years ago, right after the kid was born. They were T-boned by a drunk driver. Tristan was scraped up but fine, the daughter wasn't in the car, but Julia was on the wrong side. I remember hearing about it, I just didn't think calling would be a good idea."
Tristan watched as Rory's face changed, telling him exactly what the two were talking about. He grabbed his drink and left, refusing to face the pity that he knew would soon be doled out to him. Rory was a good girl, maybe the best girl, but he couldn't do that, especially here with her. It would be too sincere, and Rory didn't even know him now, she had never even known about Jules. Rory kept dancing as she watched Tristan grab his glass and go outside. 'Some things never change', she thought to herself with a sigh.
"I thought I would find you out here." Logan said as he approached Tristan. "Remind you of anything?"
"Years of childhood trauma." He said with a smirk. Logan let it get quiet. "So, Rory Gilmore." Tristan said with his old smile plastered on his face. "How the hell did that happen?"
"Long awful story that involved the usual Gilmore bantering and debates. She hated me at first."
"I've been there." Tristan said with a grin. Logan stopped smiling.
"Oh yeah?" Tristan saw the look.
"Come on, that's ancient history. We kissed once, she was on the rebound from her high school boyfriend…Dean. It didn't mean anything. They got back together. We were friends after that, for a little while anyway. Until I got shipped off."
"Right. I should have known."
"Remember high school you? Or me for that matter? It wasn't all this nice family man stuff you have now." Tristan's jaw clenched.
"It's been great seeing you again Logan, but it's getting late. I gotta head out."
"DuGray, look I'm sorry. I didn't mean that I just…."
"It's fine. Congratulations by the way. I don't know if I told you that yet but you picked a winner." He said as he went inside, leaving Logan on the patio.
"I picked him actually." Rory corrected Tristan as she walked towards him. Tristan nodded.
"I know. It was nice seeing you again Rory. If you're ever in North Carolina…" Before he could finish his pleasantries Rory slipped a card into his hand.
"I do want to catch up. Will you be in town for much longer?" He shrugged.
"I leave in a couple of days."
"Coffee maybe if you're not too busy?" She offered. "Well, at any rate, you have my number."
"Use it." He stared at it and smiled.
"I tried so hard to get this in high school. This silly little piece of paper." He held it up. She smiled a smile that Tristan didn't recognize.
"I know." She whispered, mocking his previous tone. Tristan realized that it was a knowing, teasing smile even and it shook Tristan to his core. She walked right past him headed towards the patio.
"Hey Gilmore." He turned around and caught her elbow. She glanced at her arm before turning to face him.
"He knows about the kiss." It was Tristan's turn to walk away from the conversation, leaving a slightly stunned Rory to pick up the pieces.
"You're Mary." Logan said without turning around to see her.
"I was, yeah." She said, shyly admitting her past to her future.
"I remember him talking about you."
"Really?" She chuckled at the thought of young Logan and Tristan discussing her.
"You cried, right?" She closed her eyes. "You did. It was you. He called you Mary tonight and I didn't even place…God I teased him about you for months." Logan was processing the information as it came back to his memory. "He really loved you back then."
"No, he really wanted to conquer me back then." Logan shook his head.
"No. He didn't."
"Well, it was good getting to see him again." She thought about adding her plans to see him later, but she didn't.
"Hey, when we started dating, were you on the rebound from Dean?" Rory paused.
"If by rebound you mean were you the first guy I dated after Dean, then yeah, I guess. Why?"
"You never cried when I kissed you." He said with a proud smirk. Rory smiled and leaned in for a kiss.
"No, I didn't." They kissed again, this time Logan pulling Rory in tight.
"So what about my treat Ace…did I behave myself enough tonight?" She smiled.
"I don't know, what do you think?"
"I think if it were up to me I would be naked right now." He said honestly.
"Hmm, so much for behaving…" She said as she walked inside.
Tristan snuck back into his old house quietly, afraid of waking anyone. His mother was sitting in the living room.
"Hello dear." She said with a smile. "How was the party?"
"It was nice, lots of old friends."
"How was it really?" She asked, knowing that her son would have to answer a lot of questions about his life.
"It was good Ma." He said as he kissed the top of her head. "Where's Regan sleeping?"
"Your old bed." He nodded as he began climbing the steps. He undid his tie and slowly opened the door to his old room. The sight of his three-year old baby girl sleeping in the middle of his huge king-sized bed made him laugh. Of all the girls he had tried to get into that bed, she was definitely the one he wanted there. He crawled in bed next to her and brushed the hair out of her eyes. She stirred to face him.
"Hey baby." He said as he kissed her forehead. "It's just Daddy. Go back to sleep."
"Daddy, your breath smells funny." She said. He laughed at her, silently regretting that last glass of Scotch and tucked her in tighter.
"Goodnight." He said sternly. "I love you."
"Love you." She curled up against his chest and he sighed. He thought his usual prayer, hoping that Jules was up there listening and slipped slowly into sleep.